Life Insurance  

Workplace life policies are not enough, experts warn

Workplace life policies are not enough, experts warn

Group life insurance is a great benefit but relying on it for all protection needs could lull workers into a false sense of security, insurance specialists have warned.

Tom Conner, director at Drewberry Insurance, said:

 "The problem with life insurance through work is that often it's insufficient."

Typical group life schemes cover between two and four times salary, which he said was "obviously better than no cover at all" but he warned of an over-reliance on this type of cover.

Mr Conner said: "This could still leave a large gap between the payout and a remaining mortgage balance, especially when considering the various statistics on the cost of raising a child to factor in, as well as keeping up with the mortgage and other daily living expenses while down one income into the household."

Moreover, the likelihood of a death in service or the need to call upon life insurance while people are still of the average working age is far less than the likelihood of having to take time off work due to a serious illness, accident or critical illness.

Mr Conner said: "Many people are therefore vulnerable to the financial shocks that include an injury or illness that prevents them from working."

He said there were many clients who come to Drewberry looking to secure a lump-sum payout with life insurance, or a regular payout each month with family income benefit, which splits a life insurance payout into more manageable chunks to help cope with everyday expenses, as well as the costs of raising a family.

For example, research from the Child Poverty Action Group in 2017 found the average cost of raising a child as a couple to the age of 18 stood at £75,436 - not including private school tuition, university fees or higher education on top of that. 

However, Mr Conner added: "We find clients often underestimate how much cover they need. It's common for clients to think they only need two or three years' worth of salary covered as a lump sum payout.

"But for those with a new child it's more like 18 or even 21 years of coverage that's needed, seeing the child through to adulthood. The most cost-effective way of putting this protection in place is usually with a family income benefit policy. But when the savings are gone, what's next in case of any unforeseen emergency?

"We know household savings in the UK are at record lows, with two in five people having less than £1,000 to fall back on in case of a 'rainy day'."

Tom Baigrie, founder of Lifesearch, agreed. He said: "While many parents buy life insurance in case one of them dies, a parent is far more likely to be off work long term through illness or accident than to die.